Cover Photo: Roland Garros/Twitter

Alex Eala makes history at Roland Garros 2021. Here are five facts you should know about her

The 16-year-old Filipina Alex Eala and her Russian partner Oksana Selekhmeteva have just won the 2021 French Open girls doubles championship against Maria Bondarenko and Amarissa Kiara Tóth (6-0, 7-5). Her timely win makes this year's Philippine Independence Day extra special indeed. 

See Also: Philippine Independence Day: 5 Things That Make The Country Truly Unique

According to CNN, “the French Open title is the second trophy for the Eala-Selekhmeteva tandem, who debuted with a bridesmaid finish at the W25 Platja D'Aro meet in Spain last 22 May. It was Eala's first doubles tournament in the professional tennis circuit”.

With her latest achievement, Eala has proven herself to be a Filipino trailblazer in the world of Tennis. “It has been important to prepare mentally, as well as physically, for this tournament and by that I mean understanding and acknowledging that it is a different field here in the French capital,” Eala relates.

Upon winning, the athlete told CNN, “Sa lahat ng mga Pinoy na nanonood, salamat sa pagsusuporta (To all the Filipinos who are watching, thank you for supporting me). It's actually the Independence Day today; I hope I made my contribution to the country!" 

Here are five facts to know about her: 

1. First Filipina to win a title at Roland Garros

Alex Eala has left her mark and has made history with this big win. Inspiring other women and making her country proud is something important to this young athlete.

“If I was younger and I saw a Filipina tennis player competing at Roland Garros I know that it would be a big inspiration and I am trying to be that for young kids in the Philippines. That’s really important to me," she writes in ITF.

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2. This is her second Grand Slam win

Alex Eala secured her second Grand Slam title after winning at Roland Garros, making huge strides for the Philippines in Tennis. She won her first Grand Slam title in the 2020 Australian Open girls doubles tournament with Indonesian partner Priska Nugroho. To date, the duo is still the Australian Open girls doubles defending champions.

3. Rhett Eala's Niece

She is the niece of top Philippine designer Rhett Eala. His career began in 1990, as one of Rustan's in-house designers. Since then, he has created multiple brands and has designed gowns for Miss Universe

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4. Second Filipino to win a Grand Slam title

“By making the semis, I became the first player from the Philippines to contest a semi-final at a Junior Grand Slam for 35 years, since Felix Barrientos at Wimbledon in 1985,” she commented.

5. International Tennis Federation Player Grant

Eala received an ITF International Junior Player Grant in 2021 and has been actively training at the Rafa Nadal Academy, according to ITF. She will also be regularly writing and blogging about her tennis journey for all her fans and supporters. Read her pieces here.

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